Log In

Hans-Rudolf Merz Edit Profile

Government official

Hans-Rudolf Merz is a Swiss politician of FDP.The Liberals and former member of the Swiss Federal Council.


Born in Herisau, Switzerland.


Merz was a Scout, and visited the National Jamboree of Switzerland in July 2008. From 1969 to 1974, he was party secretary of the Free Democratic Party (FDP/PRD) in St. Gallen. Since 1977 he has worked as a management consultant.

In 1997 he was elected to the Swiss Council of States for the canton of Appenzell Outer Rhodes. He presided over the finance committee, and was a member of the foreign policy committee.

Merz was elected to the Swiss Federal Council on 10 December 2003. At the time he was on the board of directors of the Helvetia-Patria insurance company and Anova Holding. He was also a member of the board of trustees of the Max Schmidheiny Foundation.

On 20 September 2008, whilst in Eastern Switzerland, Merz was rushed to hospital, having suffered from a heart attack. He was soon flown to Bern University Hospital, where he had a multiple bypass operation. He was also placed into an artificial coma. This led to a reorganisation of the cabinet, and the absence of the Swiss President, Pascal Couchepin from the UN General Assembly in New York.

On 10 December 2008, as the member of the Federal Council that hasn't been its president for the longest time, Merz was elected President of the Confederation for 2009. In parliament, the 66-year-old received 185 out of 209 valid votes. He succeeded Free Democratic Party colleague Pascal Couchepin. Doris Leuthard was elected vice-president.

On 20 September 2010, a recording of Merz replying to a question about meat imports in Parliament became a viral video, drawing international attention. Merz convulsed with laughter when reading the dense bureaucratic language of the reply drafted for him by customs officials. He should provide information if the sales of e.g. Bündnerfleisch in Switzerland is endangered by meat imports.


  • books

    • Merz, Hans-Rudolf: Der Landammann und weitere Erzählungen aus dem Appenzellerland, Herisau 1992. ISBN 3-85882-072-5


  • Other Interests

    cultural history, hockey, jazz, literature and opera.


He is married, and a father of three sons.

Roswitha Merz - artist